This is about books, but first, do you ever stumble on an interesting fact, or some idle knowledge, that makes you wonder why it took your entire life to learn about it? Even, consequently, lead you to begin to question and track your past events, so you could justify why and how you could have missed out?
Just like when you get told that some spicy event that you should love, has been ongoing weekly at some location for the past 2years, only you just struck in on the information at this time. Or you recently spied on some flavor of ice-cream, only everyone else has been having it since the advent of ice-cream million years ago.
This even spews to include movies you’ve only just watched recently while it was released at the cinemas a year back, music you only just heard but it was rendered in a 2nd album of some band that’s on their 6th album at the present, and especially, learning about some great books for the first time now, whereas you should have known and gobbled them up a long time ago.
Excerpts of the Books
Here’s a list of books that have long existed, some in the early 90s while some a little bit recent, and I fortunately managed to reread quite a few this year. What I lack in giving sound reviews, I gain in being honest about stuff. So trust me, these books are good. For some book review in quotes & italics, I culled up the summary from goodreads (unless otherwise stated), either because I vaguely remember deeper aspects of the book since I read them long ago, or I think you’ll prefer to read a better summary than mine. This post is nothing more than to bring to your view the books you may not have known are really great.
Book 1: Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
The writing style in this book is the first kind I’ve come across and it kept getting interesting as the book progressed. I remember unconsciously imitating the style after the few days I was done with the book. If I remember well, the entire plot of the book surrounds just a few days, the days that followed Holden’s expulsion (the narrator) from Pencey Prep, a private school. This wasn’t his first expulsion from a school, which would explain his attitude thereafter. He didn’t go home instantly, like should be the case. Rather he went into town (New-York) visiting. He made various stops even at his former favorite teacher’s apartment. The book gets us into his interesting mind.
Book 2: We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
This book also comes with a new form of writing technique, for me. The setting started in Zimbabwe, around some children, Darling and her friends. Carefree and adventurous, they would move about plotting and stealing guavas from homes, discussing events to their understanding and misinterpreting life childishly. They separated after their village was destroyed and families were scattered. Darling had to move to an aunt’s in USA which led to a wholesome load of experience. It’s a rather interesting and humorous book so don’t be taken back by the thought of a befallen crisis.
Book 3: How To Be A Nigerian by Paul Enahoro
If you want to have an idea of what it’s like to be a Nigerian, check this book out. It’s filled with insightful topics and scenarios that color the average Nigerian person in all hilarity. It sets out like a guide book to reviewing and understanding temperaments, conducts, attitudes, political and economical aspects of everyday living. Just the first page of this book will get you laughing in agreement.
“In this riveting account, he tells of his journey from a prison cell to Mecca, describing his transition from hoodlum to Muslim minister. Here, the man who called himself “the angriest Black man in America” relates how his conversion to true Islam helped him confront his rage and recognize the brotherhood of all mankind.” Someone else said, “The voice of Malcolm X was powerful, unbridled and simply heroic. He is one of the most quotable men of the twentieth century:
“I believe in recognizing every human being as a human being–neither white, black, brown, or red; and when you are dealing with humanity as a family there’s no question of integration or intermarriage. It’s just one human being marrying another human being or one human being living around and with another human being.”“
Book 5: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
If you start this book with the knowledge of the author’s career as a comedian, you might be disappointed to find that this book has depths beyond humor. Trevor tried to portray as best as he could the system of governance he grew up with and how it had a hold on his childhood. He narrated the ills of the South African society being confined in racial slurs and discrimination even at this era where the world should have progressed. As should expect, he related them humorously.
“People love to say, “Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” What they don’t say is, “And it would be nice if you gave him a fishing rod.” That’s the part of the analogy that’s missing.” – Trevor Noah“ Noah did a good job at giving us a condensed version of the history of Apartheid. He explains how it was used to create fissures among the black population, and give us an insider’s perspective of the real life consequences it had in the lives of millions of people.
Book 6: The Glass castle by Jeanette Walls
Amazon.com review – “Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn’t stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an “excitement addict.” As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.”
From GoodReads, “What I loved about this book is this: it presents her parents, with all their faults, and the poor mentality, at its worst, without anger, exasperation, or even really any judgment, just with the quirky love we all view our own childhoods. If she had been bitter in her description it would not have been believable, but instead it was tinged with forgiveness making me respect her for not only surviving such a strange childhood to become a successful, even functioning, adult but for being able to view her past with impartiality.”
Book 7: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
During the time of the Nazis and all, Anne and her family had to go in hiding. I think they exiled for 2years before they were caught. Anne, a pre-teen, took to documenting any and all she could think of in her diary. Her school mates, her parents, her new life and new to-be-long-term acquaintances, her romantic aspirations and little involvements. Unknown to her she was writing her biography as she died before her 15th birthday.
Book 8: Home-going by Yaa Ngasi
This is the most intense book I’ve had to read in my entire life I guess. At first I couldn’t make sense of the structure because about each chapter developed a new historical generation and it was sure to confuse any reader no matter the level of attention guarded to the plot. This book has the ideal story telling profile and it covered timelines from the exact start of black slave trade to the present era. With one primary family’s tree being imposed on, we get to have insights on cultural belonging, human intense suffering, survival, fear, how the world is interwoven. Formally, I thought the author was more concerned with narrating the various historic timelines of the move through life than merging the lives of the characters, but the book ended with such un-imagined connectivity that could make up for the sadness that enveloped the entire plot.
Book 9: David Cooperfield by Charles Dickens
J. D. Salinger in his book Catcher in the Rye made a reference to this book, so I took note to have a look some time. This book is about a boy’s journey from an unhappy childhood to feisty adulthood where he took up the profession of a writer. He had to form his character amongst challenges with people he had to contend with. This book has a lot of active characters, more than the average. But they all lend to the plot around David’s becoming.
Book 10: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The book started with Death (personified) giving his itinerary and point of views on the happenings at the time. Really spooky. The plot revolves around Liesel Meminger, a foster girl who fell in love with books while raiding a house on one of her stealing escapades with her friends. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read. These characters were situated in Germany, and at the time, there was the war period of Hitler’s regime. Liesel’s family had to illegally habour a Jew, so Liesel felt to read to him the stories she writes.
Book 11: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
“Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior – to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.”
Book 12: The Perks of being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
About this guy Charlie and his transition in life, with the usual story of romance and friends. Only captioned in an unusual manner as entries into a diary. So the book is a collation of sequences of journal updates with which, each day’s entry will keep you hungry for the next day’s update. Here is a review from Good reads – “…follows observant “wallflower” Charlie as he charts a course through the strange world between adolescence and adulthood. First dates, family drama, and new friends. Sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Devastating loss, young love, and life on the fringes. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.“
Book 13: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
One person’s review – This is either a beautifully written and fable-like illustration of simple and universal truths or a load of crap. I have a bad feeling it’s the later, but then I consider that there could also be a third option.
And then here’s another person’s view – “I really disliked this book. I dislike it in the way that I dislike a great deal of modern self help books. Their basic message is that if you want something to happen, you need to want it as hard as you can, without caring about anything else, not allowing yourself to doubt it, or let criticisms will get in the way then it will happen. I disagree with this notion, not only because it is false, but because it is bad. Just because we desire something, does not make it good. This idea of ‘following your heart’ is often wrong”
There are tons of negative reviews for this book yet it’s still one of the most widely read self-help books. So don’t you think you should get this book to know what the disparity is about?